ROSEBURG, Ore. -- Police said three girls are now safe after they arrested a man who was taking them to California to engage in prostitution.
Investigators say an alert police officer noticed a suspicious vehicle parked near the Roseburg Municipal Airport around 4 a.m. on Thursday. The officer said the driver, Maurice Hurth, 41, told him one of the girls was his niece and he was giving them a ride to California.
Police said when they interviewed the girls separately their stories were the same. They said they were living in a group home in Seattle and asked Hurth for a ride to Tacoma. They said Hurth drove them to Oregon instead.
The girls said Hurth gave them pills, alcohol and marijuana and he took their cell phones and would not give them back. They said Hurth was driving "crazy" so they couldn't get out of the car. He also threatened to drop them off separately if they tried to get out, the girls said.
The girls told police Hurth took inappropriate photos of them and said they were "going to make him rich" in California.
The three girls, 16 and 17, were recently reported missing from a youth group home in the Seattle area.
Police said Hurth has multiple warrants for his arrest out of San Francisco, Fairfield, and Solano, Calif.
The girls were all taken into protective custody and were later transferred to the Douglas County Juvenile Shelter.